A New Day Dawning

It was 6 a.m. The sun was loudly announcing the coming of a new day in riotous colors – magenta and orange and gold. Father Time, an old man, white – bearded and gnarled as an old oak tree, had tossed the hat to the Baby New Year, and 2012 was ushered in! I stood on the porch, awe-struck, and watched the first sunrise of the new year arrive, blinking and yawning and waving its fists like a new born infant; fraught with possibility. A whole, new year was ahead of me! Why, anything could happen!

A baby does that to you, doesn’t it? A brand new baby fills you with wonder, and hopes and dreams! You grasp tiny hands, marvel at the smallness of fingernails; take off miniscule socks to count tiny toes. And, when you look into those eyes, you get the feeling that you are looking into an old soul, too wise for this world, and suddenly, nothing seems impossible anymore. You dare to imagine all sorts of things and begin to plan how to put those dreams in motion. No wonder they chose a baby as the symbol of the New Year! A baby changes everything!

Perhaps that is why, when God came down to be one of us, he came down as a baby. Perhaps God wanted to experience everything it meant to be human. To experience how it felt to be helpless, totally dependent on others for food, for warmth, for affection, for life itself – and yet, still have the power to bring kings to their knees.

Three kings, Wise Men from the East, journeyed far to find a baby – the king of the Jews. Strangers to the faith, they didn’t know they were searching for God until they found him. But, when they did, they were filled with wonder! They looked into those eyes – the eyes of an old soul – and knew immediately that this was the baby they were looking for. They dropped to their knees and worshipped him – the One they had never known.

An epiphany! A revelation! The Christ child was revealed to strangers! And from that day on, we who were once strangers were brought into the fold! Grafted onto the vine and adopted as children of God, we celebrate the New Year with an eye to January 6th – the day of the Epiphany of our Lord, when Jesus was revealed to be the Lord of all, not just a special few. And, one day, everyone will know him.

As the sun topped the trees, beams of golden light spread out like a fan across the morning sky. The stars disappeared from view, all except that bright, morning star – always the last to fade. I imagined that it rivaled the star that led the Wise Men to the baby Jesus; Jesus – the Bright Morning Star… and I realized with a jolt that I would follow that Star anywhere!

May 2012 be a year full of joyous epiphanies for you, as you seek the God who allows himself to be found. Looking forward to journeying with you!

Happy New Year!

Pastor Barb <><

Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! Philippians 2:10-11

December 2011 Senior Citizens

Christmas fun & games! That is what 49 folks enjoyed at their December meeting. After a wonderful meal headed up by Charlie Heidt & his “elves,” everyone enjoyed Christmas games and caroling. Thank you to each person who helped prepare the meal, provided food, &/or helped clean up afterwards.

A table full of new toys were donated by the senior citizens and delivered to DFACS to help many children have a fun-filled Christmas. (see thank you on page 4)

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 18th, at 11:30 a.m. A representative from LifeLink of Georgia will share information on how important organ, eye & tissue donations are in helping others. The meal will be provided.

Our average attendance in 2011 grew to 42! Folks enjoy getting out & visiting with others while eating a delicious meal. Don’t stay home by yourself. Come join us at the January meeting! If you need a ride, let us know! We will be glad to make sure you get here!

December 2011 WELCA Update

Thanks to all who made, packed, and delivered Christmas cookies. Because of you, 28 containers of homemade cookies were given to our 80+ years members and shut-ins for Christmas!

Another new year is hear! As you begin this new year, think about how you can get involved in all that WELCA has to offer. Remember, every female member of Zion is automatically a member. All ladies are encouraged to take part and become involved in one of our women’s groups at Zion. It’s a great way to get to know others and make a real difference. One way that you can make a difference is through our special Love Offering. All WELCA units from churches in the Southeastern Synod collect a special offering during the year. This year’s Love Offering will be collected to support Luther Ranch Retreat Center.

All women of Zion are members of WELCA. You are invited to take part and get involved in your organization. Bible study meeting times and locations are listed in Zionews.

December 2011 LYO Update

December Highlights

LYO Singing Carols

Thanks to everyone who joined us in caroling! We had a wonderful group of 34 carolers! Special thanks to Effingham chapter of Thrivent for providing money to purchase gift bags filled with goodies to distribute while caroling. Also, thanks to WELCA and all those who helped to prepare the meal for the carolers and all our 80+ year old guests. We all had a great time!

January Events
Wednesday, January 18th 6:00pm – 7:30pm: LIFE! (Living in Faith Everyday)
Come join us for Bible study! Remember, meal starts at 5:15pm. Youth should be finished eating by 6:00pm.

Sunday, January 22nd 12:15pm – 2:00pm: Planning for Souper Bowl Sunday
Bring a sack lunch to church. Following worship, we’ll eat and make plans for Souper Bowl Sunday service.

Sunday, January 29th 12:15pm – 2:00pm: Souper Bowl Sunday Rehearsal
Bring a sack lunch to church. Following worship, we’ll eat and rehearse for Souper Bowl Sunday. Youth are in charge of leading worship on Souper Bowl Sunday.

Plan Ahead
Sunday, February 5th: Souper Bowl Sunday – Youth Lead Worship
Sunday, February 5th: Youth Super Bowl Party
April 27th – 29th: All GA – 6th thru 12th grade
June 17th – 22nd: AFFIRM – 6th thru 12th grade

All youth in grades 6 – 12 are invited to participate in youth activities. Our youth program meets on most 1st and 3rd Wednesdays for Bible study. We meet on 2nd and 4th Sundays for service and social projects. For additional information about youth activities, contact Dana Lee Smith at 665-1377.

December 2011 Children’s Choir

Thanks to our Children’s Choir for doing such a great job during Advent and Christmas. A special thanks to all who took part in and helped to make this year’s Christmas program a success. Weekly practice will begin again on Wednesday, January 11th. Parents, remember to make sure that your child’s school has a signed permission form with the appropriate transportation information for Wednesdays. Children at Marlow Elementary ride a bus over to Zion. Children from other schools are picked up as car riders. Please contact Melinda Heidt (728-3288) or Dana Lee Smith (665-1377) if you have questions about transportation.

We are so blessed to have a Children’s Choir that sings regularly at our Sunday morning worship! We love to hear our children sing! Thanks for getting your children here for practice and worship!

Women of the ELCA – December 2011

Get out your favorite cookie recipe! All ladies are invited to make cookies for packaging. These “cookie tins” will be distributed to those 80 and over and those who are ill in our
congregation. Bring your cookies to our packing night on Sunday, December 4th at 7:00pm. This is a great opportunity to spread some holiday cheer.

Our Angel Tree project is up and running. Please check out the display in the entrance of the fellowship hall. The money raised from this project will go to the ELCA Disaster Response to buy seed for replanting in flooded countries in Central America. There are many items for sale. This is a great way to help out others and complete your holiday shopping.

Newly elected officers:
President: Dana Lee Smith
Vice President: Melinda Heidt
Secretary: Cheryl Pannal
Treasurer: Emma Lee Dasher
Committee for Community: Mary Lou Thomas
Committee for Growth: Sherri Pittman
Committee for Action: Lida Peth

All women of Zion are members of WELCA. You are invited to take part and get involved in your organization. Bible study meeting times and locations are listed in Zionews.

Lutheran Youth Organization News – December 2011

Calling all Carolers!!!! If you enjoy singing and spreading some holiday cheer, please make plans to join us for our annual Christmas Caroling trip. We invite all congregation members to join us for caroling and dinner. Please let Dana Lee know by Sunday, December 11th if you plan to attend so that transportation and dinner arrangements can be made.

December Events
Wednesday, December 7th 6:00pm – 7:30pm: LIFE! (Living in Faith Everyday) Come to LIFE! Join us for Bible study and fun as we discover how to put our faith into action.
Saturday, December 10th 10:00am – 12:00pm: Christmas Program Practice This is our dress rehearsal for the Christmas Program. This will be our only group rehearsal. We need everyone to attend so that we can put the final touches on our production.
Sunday, December 11th 5:00pm: Christmas Program Invite your friends and family to attend!
Sunday, December 18th 4:00pm – 8:00pm: Christmas Caroling It’s Christmas Caroling time! We’ll leave Zion at 4:00pm. We’ll travel to the Effingham Care Center and visit some of our homebound members as we spread a little Christmas cheer! We’ll return to Zion as we host a special dinner for our special 80 + year old members.

Plan Ahead
Sunday, January 8th: Social/Service
Wednesday, January 18th: 6:00pm – 7:30pm: LIFE
Sunday, January 22nd: Social/Service

All youth in grades 6 – 12 are invited to participate in youth activities. Our youth program meets on most 1st and 3rd Wednesdays for Bible study. We meet on 2nd and 4th Sundays for service and social projects. For additional information about youth activities, contact Dana Lee Smith at 665-1377.

Christmas Caroling

Get your singing voices ready! It’s time for Christmas Caroling! Zion’s youth will go Christmas Caroling on Sunday, December 18th. We’ll meet at the church at 4:00pm. We’ll arrive back to church by 6:30pm for dinner. This is a youth sponsored event, but we invite anyone who wishes to join in singing to attend. Please contact Dana Lee Smith at 728-3227 if you wish to attend.

Quilt Making

Quilts are in need everywhere! If you would like to be a part of the new Quilt Ministry, starting in January, please contact Norma Ralph (912-313-2465). Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still get involved! We will need folks to cut, pin, tie, and so on. If you have material and need a home for it, let Norma know as well.

Christmas Cantata Presented Christmas Eve!

This year’s Christmas Cantata entitled “Holy Night of Miracles” will be presented by Zion’s Adult Choir during the Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Service on Saturday, December 24th at 7:00 p.m. Lloyd Larson’s music is a blending of familiar carols with new Christmas anthems. The choir has been practicing for months under the gifted direction of Dana Lee Smith.

One miraculous night in Bethlehem changed the course of human history forever, a baby came to earth as God in human form. “Holy Night of Miracles” is a reminder that the hope born on that first Christmas night is still needed today and ultimately found in the miraculous Child born in Bethlehem so many years ago. May we realize anew the powerful promise that one of God’s greatest gifts, represented in this Holy Child, is that of hope – hope for today, tomorrow and for all eternity!